Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


K. Hovden, of the well known K. Hovden Company, Inc., of Monterey, packers of fancy sardines and tuna, with a branch establishment in San Diego, was born in Norway, January 3, 1880, the son of Olav and Maria Agathe Hovden, both now deceased. The parents were enviably situated, in that they enjoyed the esteem and goodwill of their neighbors and many friends, and this fact is today a source of pride and satisfaction to K. Hovden who is generally looked upon as a successful man, well-deserving his prosperity.

Passing his boyhood in his native land, young Hovden attended the Norwegian schools and at the early age of fifteen entered a general merchandise store, where he acted as clerk there for two and a half years he was correspondent for a large iron and steel concern and next he sailed as supercargo, traveling for eight months of the year, and buying and selling for his employers. He followed this line of work for five years, although during all this time he was determined some day to master the fish industry.

As a result of this new interest, Mr. Hovden was constantly studying the fish-game, from both a scientific and a commercial standpoint, and he worked with some of the largest fishing companies in Germany, France and Holland, eventually taking a two-year course in the Fisheries' School in Norway, to supplement his practical knowledge. Afterward he was associated with two Englishmen in Norway in packing and shipping fishbails but their plant was destroyed by fire, thus putting an end to all their operations. In 1904 therefore he came across the sea once more and made his way to the northwest, locating in Astoria where for a year he engaged in salmon packing, but he saw that the salmon industry could not long continue and therefore gave all his attention to sardines. After coming to Monterey, he was with the Booth Company for a time.

When, in 1915, Mr. Hovden undertook to pack sardines on his own account, he built an extensive plant, thus amply demonstrating his faith in the future and in himself, and since then his business has grown far beyond all expectations. This plant was destroyed by fire in 1921 but he did not lose either his grit or his grip, and instead he set to work to rebuild, since which time he has been compelled each year to make additions, in order to handle his fast-growing business. He has his own force of salesmen, although possibly the most successful member of the selling staff is K. Hovden himself. The plants employ some four hundred people in the busy season, and their yearly turn-over will average one million dollars. Two of the four plants of the company are in Monterey, one is in San Diego, and one in Alameda, where a special brand of fruits is packed. The Hovden "Portola" brand of sardines is world-famous.

Mr. Hovden was married in 1910 to Miss Marie Emma Siegert, the ceremony taking place in London, England, and their union has been blessed with two children, Allan and Norman. Mrs. Hovden is an accomplished lady, a native of the fine old city of Leipsic, Germany, although she was reared in the world's metropolis, London. Mr. Hovden is a republican, and an Elk; and being a self-made man, he is foremost in every movement for the uplifting of others desiring to establish themselves in worth-while careers.

Source: History of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, California : cradle of California's history and romance : dating from the planting of the cross of Christendom upon the shores of Monterey Bay by Fr. Junipero Serra, and those intrepid adventurers who accompanied him, down to the present day. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1925, 890 pgs.